Health Concerns for the Aging Population
Health Concerns for the Aging Population As baby boomers grow older the concerns of the elderly will become more prominent in the media; as have all the needs of this popular group.
What exactly are the needs that will most likely be addressed? Questions About The Aging Process Itself: As our bodies age there are many issues that can surface regarding how our many bodily systems are functioning.
There are concerns regarding our skin, lifestyle, changes in height and weight as well as a host of diseases that may be encountered as systems start to wear with age. Genetics and the environment and even lifestyle behaviors that have been so much a part of our daily routines may now start to show physical signs that may need to be addressed.
Such behaviors may involve, but not be limited to:
Smoking habits Consumption of alcohol Are there any necessary changes in exercise routines to compensate for the aging body? Is the amount of daily rest adequate? Nutrition is it poor or good? How effectively is stress dealt with? Is there a negative or a positive outlook on life?
Aging at the Cellular Level: As bodies age there is a definite change at the cellular level. The rate at which cells multiply will slow down. The type of cells that our bodies use in our immune systems that medical personnel refer to as "T-cell lymphocytes" will decrease in number with age. Another cellular level change is in our response to environmental factors such as exposure to ultraviolet light, how we react to heat, our ability to take in oxygen, our nutrition needs change based on the cellular level ability to handle or absorb certain foods, and lastly toxins or poisons and how our body can deal with them changes at the cellular level as we age.
There are two diseases that are cellular level diseases that occur in part during later stages of our age because of processes that do not happen as programmed. An example is cancer. Some cancer occurs because a process that naturally happens called "apoptosis" does not happen.
Apoptosis is simply the cell stopping it's function as planned when the need for it to exist is over. In the immune system, we have cells that perform a function when an infection or foreign body invades our body. After the infection is cleared up or the foreign body is removed the cells are suppose to stop reacting to this event and die out.
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We start noticing changes in our body. Our stamina may be less than previously, we may recover as fast from a workout or physical exercise, and we may find our once svelte waistline increasing. As we age, we begin to tire easier and have difficulty in fighting off disease or illnesses. We just assume this is the first sign of aging.
When we age, sometimes this natural dying does not trigger and the cells continue to grow taking over healthy tissue. This is termed "cancer" in certain situations. Another disease based on cellular level malfunction is Alzheimer's disease. In this case the affected cells die to early instead of not dying when they are suppose to. Scientists have detected a substance called "amyloid". This substance can build up causing brain cells to die too early, which then results in memory loss and other brain function loss.
Misc. bodily changes that the Aging Experience: A change in height may be noticed. The normal pattern is to experience gradual height gain through our 40's and then starts to decrease until around age 80 most of us will experience approximately 2" in height loss.
This height loss can make a difference in several ways: It may change our posture The vertebrae (spine bones) may shift and be different. We may experience disc compression in the vertebrae. You may notice more curvature of the hips and knees. Decreases space between joints of the arms and legs. You may even notice joint changes in your feet.
Find someone to share problems and thoughts with. Be sure to spend time talking with them on a regular basis. It is a great way to reduce stress.
Some will also experience flat feet (lower or flat arches of each foot). Men usually gain weight until they reach mid fifties and then will gradually lose it Women will usually gain weight until their middle sixties and then lose it more gradually then men will. As the baby boomers address these concerns and learn to cope, society will also learn to adapt to this aging population.
Healthy Aging Issues Today